23. April 2021 Why the Future of Manufacturing needs to be Green
Why the Future of Manufacturing needs to be Green
The environment dilemma is becoming an increasing pressure faced by today’s industrial manufacturers. Its influence extends beyond a manufacture’s own standpoint on eco-sustainability. Rather than a solely internal force of change, external forces such as consumer purchase decisions and government regulations are becoming the main motivators for change. Eco-friendly initiatives are no longer secondary expenditures to be used as selling points or CSR boosts, but rather investment and implementation of sustainable and eco-friendly practices is now necessary for the very survival of today’s manufacturers.
Some view this eco-friendly / sustainability movement as a threat to the traditional industry sector. As manufacturers are facing stricter laws regarding the type and amount of allowed pollutants derived from production. Additionally, the use of more renewable and sustainable resources in production is also becoming an unavoidable requirement. In some cases, these pressures may even threaten the survival of many traditionally established businesses. But despite inherently being a limiter on production, eco-friendly practices have rather been shown to both improve quality of production and lower expenditure.
What many managers within the industrial sector fail to see is how sustainability is not the process of halting the corporate world from progressing and to put the natural one above everything else, the eco-friendly equations rather aim to establish a synergy and balance between our natural environment and our industrial growth. Eco-sustainability as a concept in manufacturing is not purely the pursuit of clean manufacturing in favor of the environment. When done effectively sustainable practices optimize production lines and restructure manufacturers into more efficient and industrial entities.
Expenditure in clean energy and in energy efficient technologies such as solar energy, energy efficient lighting, and data optimized factories, has been shown to overall lower investment into energy. Energy efficient technologies optimize energy use to limit unnecessary expenditure, while clean energy infrastructure such as solar panels can make a factory partly self-sufficient.
The notable change comes when eco-sustainability and big data meet in the form of smart factories. These are highly automated factories with a data infrastructure integrated into the production line. Here data analysis takes control of production by using data to optimize all aspects of production from machine integrity to rate of production failure. A study conducted by Deloitte Insights found that smart factories increased the production capacity by 25% and lowered the percentage of defective products by 50 percent.
Within Germany, green technology companies are becoming increasingly common and are shown to experience increasing success. A 2018 report by the “Federal Ministry for the Environment” found that Germany held 16.6% market share of the world’s green technology market, with the average green tech company reporting an annual revenue of 25 million Euro.
The message is clear: the Eco-sustainability movement is here to stay, and it is not a threat but an incredible opportunity for manufactures. The implementation of sustainable practices is a chance to optimize and improve production, while simultaneously protecting the natural environment manufactures rely on.
Author: Hugo Göransson , Glasford International Deutschland Research & Analytics